WASHINGTON | The electoral college on Monday approved the presidential victory of Joe Biden, who was to call America to “turn the page” despite Donald Trump’s stubborn refusal to recognize his defeat.
• Read also: Biden calls for ‘turning the page’ on election and rallying
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Unsurprisingly, the voters, who met state by state, confirmed the consecration of the former vice president of Barack Obama, who will become on January 20 the 46e president of the country’s history.
This expected development was followed by another which was less so, when Mr. Trump announced the departure of his Minister of Justice Bill Barr, whom the president had recently criticized for not having denounced the electoral fraud which he wants to convince the world.
“Bill will be leaving just before Christmas to spend the holidays with the family, Deputy Justice Minister Jeff Rosen, an incredible person, will take over,” the outgoing president tweeted.
If the stage of the vote of the big voters is traditionally a formality, Donald Trump gave it a particular relief by refusing to admit the verdict of the ballot box and giving echo to conspiracy theories on possible electoral cheating.
The milestone of 270 voters, synonymous with victory, was crossed at the end of the afternoon by Joe Biden when California, largely won by the Democrat, added its votes to the total.
“In the battle for the soul of America, democracy has won,” said Mr. Biden in a speech, excerpts of which were broadcast in advance by his team.
“The integrity of our elections has been preserved. Now it’s time to turn the page. To bring us together, ”he added in this speech scheduled for 7:30 pm from his stronghold in Wilmington, Delaware.
“The flame of democracy was lit a long time ago in this country. And we now know that nothing – not even a pandemic or an abuse of power – can extinguish this flame ”.
This procedural step is traditionally little followed. But it was broadcast live this year, after weeks of a judicial guerrilla war led by Donald Trump which was a complete fiasco, but which further reinforced America’s divisions.
“It is not only out of respect for traditions, but also to show everyone, now more than ever, that our system works,” said Chris Sununu, Republican governor of New Hampshire, before the big four voters in his state would vote in favor of Joe Biden.
The results of the November 3 ballot have already been certified by each of the 50 American states: the Democrat won the record number of 81.28 million votes, or 51.3% of the vote, against 74.22 million (46.8 %) to the outgoing Republican President.
But in the United States, the tenant of the White House is chosen by indirect universal suffrage, each state generally attributing its grand voters, whose number depends essentially on its population, to the candidate who wins locally. Although it has happened in the past that a small handful of large voters deviated from this rule, it never changed the outcome of the election.
Here too, the certified results confirm the comfortable advance of Joe Biden, announced on November 7 by the major American media, with 306 voters against 232 to Donald Trump.
The 538 voters are local politicians, figures from civil society or relatives of a candidate. Most are unknown to the general public, but sometimes national figures are part of the electoral college.
This is the case this year for former Democratic President Bill Clinton and his wife, the unsuccessful 2016 presidential candidate, Hillary Clinton. “I am in favor of the abolition of the electoral college […], but since it still exists, I was proud to bring my voice in New York State to Joe Biden and Kamala Harris, ”she tweeted.
“Acknowledge your defeat”
From the White House, Donald Trump has been denouncing, for almost a month and a half, without proof, but the conspiracy theories in support, “the most rigged election in American history”.
Almost all of his legal actions were dismissed. Ultimate humiliation, the Supreme Court, which it has yet profoundly reworked by appointing three judges and thereby consolidating the now strong conservative majority of six members out of nine, rejected last week two Republican appeals, without even seizing it. on the background.
Once Monday’s solemn step has been taken, will a greater number of elected Republicans agree to finally recognize the victory of Joe Biden? It’s possible.
But it is unlikely that Donald Trump will fall into line, especially since according to polls, a large majority of his voters do not consider the Democrat a legitimate winner.
He could try to take advantage of the complexity of an institutional process that stretches in length for a last standstill: some elected officials close to him plan to contest the results when Congress will be called upon to provide a final validation on January 6. .
However, the process has hardly any chance of success.
In a scathing editorial, the Wall Street Journal felt it was time for Donald Trump to change his posture. “There is a time to fight and there is a time to recognize defeat,” he said.